Learning Leader

When Natural Disasters Strike

There are some things we can prepare for, and others that blindside us. While we have modern technology to track hurricanes, we are never really prepared for the devastation that follows. Homes are swept away, businesses are wiped out, and schools are left in total disrepair. Not only is physical damage present, but people experiencing it or have loved ones in the crossfire deal with the psychological pain of losing so much. Texas has been impacted by Hurricane Hanna and now Hurricane Laura in 2020, and that can lead many people wondering what to do next and how to move on. 

While we don’t have all the answers, we have made some educational resources for those who have been impacted by natural disasters. After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in 2017CLI faculty Mike Assel, Ph.D. and staff, including Valerie Kerne, Ph.D.recorded this brief webinar that discusses tips for returning to school, the importance of teacher self-care, suggestions for activities, and responsive teaching practices, all of which is still relevant today.  

Teachers and other trusted adults are paramount in creating a safe and welcoming space for students at the beginning of any school year but are particularly important this year as students may be experiencing and processing many different emotions related to the hurricanes and returning to school, virtually or in person, during COVID-19. 

We also have created a collection of lessons (in English and some Spanish) with the aid of instructional experts and child psychologists at CLI, for children from pre-kindergarten to grade 2.  As part of our larger CIRCLE Activity Collection, these lessons are linked to popular children’s books and explore feelings of loss, fear, courage, and cooperation. In addition to these classroom activitiesCLI’s CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family (available in English and Spanish) can be used by teachers to find activities that support children's (ages 0-6) social-emotional learning at home. Available at no cost as part of our resources on CLI Engage, teachers can share fun, easy activity ideas that families can do at home together, which can be sent via email or text message. 

We hope you find these resources helpful, but most importantly we hope you and your loved ones are safe 


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